Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon – dis­as­ter done right

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Damian Levy Gleaner Writer

RIPPED FROM the head­lines of the by­gone days of 2010, Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon reimag­ines the tragic events of April 20 in which the Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon oil rig ex­ploded, caus­ing the deaths of 11 crew­men and the worst oil spill in US history. The film fo­cuses on the ac­tual ex­plo­sion, merely men­tion­ing the 87 days of fall­out that oc­curred as a re­sult.

The film stars Mark Wahlberg as Mike Wil­liams, the chief en­gi­neer tech­ni­cian on the oil rig. At times, Mike veers into ac­tion-hero ter­ri­tory, mak­ing the movie feel very Die Hard On an Oil Rig. Thank­fully, though, di­rec­tor Peter Berg and com­pany recog­nise the im­por­tance of be­ing earnest in telling the story of men and women whose lives are put at risk, yet seen as ex­pend­able, through ir­re­spon­si­ble cor­po­rate prac­tices.

At the core of it, the movie brings across that mes­sage well and does so without the dra­matic fan­tasy that typ­i­cally ac­com­pa­nies movies like th­ese. No char­ac­ter feels un­re­al­is­tic – which is trou­bling, con­sid­er­ing the shoddy prac­tices on dis­play here. While I have no doubt that some events in the film were ex­ag­ger­ated, it didn’t feel that way. Ev­ery­thing felt as though it could have ac­tu­ally hap­pened that day.

The cast, of course, helps this. It isn’t a movie that high­lights any ma­jor role, as even Wahlberg’s char­ac­ter isn’t too de­vel­oped. He has a fam­ily he’s itch­ing to see again, but noth­ing beyond that.

No, this is a film that wants to show you the events as you may not have vi­su­alised them be­fore. That said, per­for­mances by Kurt Rus­sell and John Malkovich as Mark Wahlberg in ‘Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon’. op­pos­ing fig­ure­heads make the movie feel lived in, with a strong sense of con­vic­tion.

Per­haps, what Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon does best is its abil­ity to co­her­ently bring across ten­sion. Even when the di­a­logue is mud­dled by tech­ni­cal jar­gon, you still get a sense of the loom­ing pres­ence of dan­ger felt by the char­ac­ters. Even so, said jar­gon only aids the film’s feel­ing of au­then­tic­ity, which is al­ways a plus in movies based on real events.

For what can­not have been an easy film to di­rect, ev­ery­thing in Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon feels thought out. The set painstak­ingly de­signed to em­u­late the now de­stroyed oil rig. Touches like that go a long way in mak­ing you feel like jus­tice was done to the story it had to tell.

Rat­ing: Big-screen Watch.

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